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Green buildings key to build climate resilience

By Malina Gont

EBRD publication and conference in Warsaw to highlight potential for energy efficiency

Green buildings represent a major global investment opportunity with buildings comprising the largest segment of the US$ 231 billion energy efficiency market, an EBRD publication launched today finds.

The potential is particularly large in the Bank’s countries of operations where a high proportion of existing buildings is still behind modern standards in energy efficiency. To reach the targets of the 2016 Paris Agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, annual rates of green renovations at current common practice of existing buildings must reach 6 to 8 per cent by 2040.

At present, only 1 per cent of existing buildings have been renovated to meet minimum standards. Meanwhile, new buildings are three to four times as energy-efficient as existing ones. This illustrates the potential but also the challenge as renovations and new buildings will cost billions: For example, in 2015 the building renovation market in the European Union was valued at €109 billion alone, according to the EBRD paper.

Combining a decade of green finance experience with technical assistance and policy dialogue, the EBRD’s Green Economy Transition (GET) approach aims to turn green-building challenges into solid investment opportunities with clear economic, environmental and social benefits.

Under the GET approach, the EBRD has financed more than 200 large-scale projects for the development, upgrade and refurbishment of more than 62,000 building assets, with overall building area exceeding 25 million square metres. These investments have enabled €15 billion of green building investments, including €2 billion from the EBRD. GET investments in buildings vary from a few thousand euros to over €100 million according to the overall project size.

The challenges and opportunities in developing green buildings will also be discussed on 5 October at the PLGBC Green Building Symposium in Warsaw. EBRD experts led by Terry McCallion, Director, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change will debate, among others, the future of green buildings, how to attract and scale-up investments and how to make today’s buildings fit for tomorrow’s climate.

“The EBRD’s GET approach offers a unique blend of finance, as well as policy and technical support, to help generate growth in the green building sector. We are looking forward to the discussions in Warsaw and learning about the latest developments in the growing green building sector,” said Terry McCallion.

The conference is supported with funding from Spain and the TaiwanBusiness–EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.

The GET approach seeks to increase the volume of green financing from an average of 24 per cent of EBRD Annual Business Investment in the 10 years up to 2016 to 40 per cent by 2020. A central part of this investment will be in green buildings.

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